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Can I use Demerol if I have a history of mental illness?

If you have a history of mental illness and you're taking medication to treat it, talk to your doctor before taking the short-term pain medication Demerol (meperidine). Certain drugs prescribed for mental health problems can interact with Demerol. These include antidepressants and drugs for treating anxiety that, like Demerol, affect the central nervous system, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), doxepin (Sinequan) and imipramine (Tofranil). Antidepressants that are monoamine oxidase inhibitors, such as phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), isocarboxazid (Marplan) and selegiline (Emsam), can be especially dangerous when taken along with Demerol. The side effects of taking any of these drugs, or similar ones, along with Demerol range from slowed breathing and a drop in blood pressure to sleepiness, coma and even death.

If your mental illness involved addiction of any sort (to alcohol, say, or a street drug), your doctor needs to know about it. Demerol is a narcotic and can be habit forming; people with a history of addiction are especially at risk of abusing this drug and will need to be monitored carefully while taking it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.